reasons I’m vegan

Some things I like about being vegan:

  1. 88 animals per year
  2. fresher food, especially when chefs cook special orders
  3. healthier, which is useful
  4. not contributing to the veal industry
  5. environmental impact of trading a low-mpg SUV in for something with fuel efficiency
  6. being a pacifist 24-7
  7. producing more food for people in need
  8. being a member of a secret society with arcane rituals, hell-bent on world domination by 2015
  9. bean burgers
  10. grilled vegetables aren’t just a side dish, so I can grow dinner.
  11. eating desert first. if there’s fruit.
  12. nearly no cross-contamination in the kitchen. cross-contamination is gross.
  13. milk stays fresher, longer, and stores in the pantry for months
  14. vegan products are frequently organic
  15. carbs
  16. naked peta fur protesters are on my side
  17. cool flair
  18. less pesticide in my diet
  19. pre-cooked food might be good to eat without cooking
  20. can afford the good snacks at the expensive hippy grocery stores
  21. convenient excuse to try out any new restaurants
  22. kitchen thermometers are only needed for candy
  23. the steak knives stay sharp, even though I use them
  24. Hollywood starlets are ever-so-slightly more likely to go out with me. Slightly.
  25. an international organization wants to run ads during Super Bowls, to convince the world that vegans are teh hottness
  26. desert and brunch are completely indistinguishable
  27. my own menu (or used to) at Disney World
  28. I use the word “juicy” to accurately describe my food
  29. soy lattes
  30. thinsulate works better than wool
  31. pleather is the new leather
  32. my car seats are never sticky or hot enough to burn skin on a hot day in the sub-tropics
  33. if my food were to ferment, it would be consumed at a party rather than threatening disease
  34. can say I’m committed with a fair amount of authority and credibility
  35. no danger of microwaved fish smell
  36. finding a place to eat dinner with someone on a restricted diet isn’t very difficult
  37. vegan sushi

vegan grilling

Peta has a decent selection of grilling recipes. Many are meat-like, but far from all. They add choices to omnivorous and vegan eating patterns alike. However else they do it, making vegan food appealing to non-vegans is part of Peta’s mission as an outreach organization. That alone may make some of their recipes worth a try.

I’m often asked what, or why, a vegetarian grills. I think the answer is nearly common knowledge. Meats are often covered in or saturated with vegetables (for example, as marinades and sauces) to impart the real flavor of the finished dish. Veggies do things like caramelize, and vary in flavor with changes to temperature in a range of appetizing ways. Some easily-vegan dishes, like fajitas, traditionally require some sort of grilling surface. Also, restaurants frequently run stove tops hundreds of degrees hotter than in a home kitchen, basically grilling everything cooked on them to some extent… and I certainly can eat vegan at many restaurants.

Friday ~ May 22, 2009 by b

Posted in dining,garden,veg | Comments Off on vegan grilling | blog@goodtofu.org

second reactions to PETA

I am, in all reality, impressed at PETA’s continued ability to surprise me. Also, that it’s still a little-known part of PETA’s job description to make dating slightly more competitive for vegan men. Seriously folks, now we have to worry about football players?

Tuesday ~ February 3, 2009 by b

Posted in news,veg | Comments Off on second reactions to PETA | blog@goodtofu.org

Peta the PITA

A friend pointed me toward a controversial PETA advertisement. The ad uses sexy, scantily-clad women to sell the message of vegetarianism.

I’ve got a mixed reaction to this. On the one hand, PETA exists basically to draw attention to a pro-veg message in support of animal rights. They accomplish this by attempting to integrate into the “mainstream” in many different ways. This means that PETA is going to look like the mainstream they’re breaking into, complete with all of its flaws and problems. They are the single-issue, surgical strike team for promoting veganism, everything else is secondary. Admittedly, I don’t see many other animal rights organizations running advertisements on national television, or hanging up billboards on the side of highways, or using national mass media. Like it or not, PETA is one of the most effective organizations at recruiting new vegans. My concern is about what else they’re doing, along the way.

Also, they didn’t run their best campaigns by hiring strippers. However, I did clap, smile, laugh, and nod my head in agreement the first time that I saw the commercial.

Being a veggie or supporting AR is not mutually exclusive with any other form of social consciousness. There are no rules against being both a feminist and a vegan, or fighting both racism and animal abuse. Those various groups actually tend to overlap, demographically. So… it would really be OK with their home team if PETA didn’t use the attention-grabbing tactic of naked chiXX0rs to sell vegetables. I appreciate that they’re dispelling the myth of vegetarians being a mixture of hippies and marmish librarians in favor of “vegan == hott”. It’s actually somewhat humorous and flattering to me, and I applaud them for stabbing in that direction however misguided their tactics. But I’m a vegan already, and we’re not really shocked or surprised by research indicating that vegans have better sex. And I can’t help but think that they’re projecting an image that not every vegan finds appealing and representative.

Also, seriously… have they not taken a look at 20-something vegans lately? No dyed hair, no piercings, no goths, no sandals or steel-toes, no tie-dye, no patchouli, no tofu, and no intellectuals discussing random topics? What sort of vegans does PETA actually know? Would it be horrible if they picked up a few 24-yo punk vegans in grad school and showed them off instead of the cheerleading squad dressed in Vicky’s secret? Gosh, how horrible that would be of PETA if they promoted the image that veggie == intellectual == hott, instead.

PETA completely ignores a very large facet of animal rights, the notion that living beings are not objects to be exploited for profit. Or to denigrate others indirectly, by implying that only blonde hotties are fit to be vegan. That people don’t need to learn about the reasons for vegetarianism firsthand with an open mind, and can simply find a comfortable place on the couch without being bothered with that whole “thinking” thing. This is precisely why some vegans don’t like PETA, or don’t take PETA seriously. They dumb down a message that’s already simple and effective, when it’s actually given to people interested in changing things directly. Animal rights is not just Joe Six-pack eating his peas instead of grabbing another pork chop, that’s just a nascent beginning, and even then only if it’s for reasons actually related to animal rights.

Monday ~ February 2, 2009 by b

Posted in news,veg | Comments Off on Peta the PITA | blog@goodtofu.org

vat meat

peta recently posted a $1 million dollar reward for meat grown in a vat. The question “so, what do we think?” popped up in a few vegan fora and bulletin boards. There isn’t uniform agreement, just like the vegan community doesn’t uniformly agree on any other science fiction.

I think it’s gross. Vat-grown animal flesh is not food, it is medical waste. On a completely irrational level, I do not want dinner growing next to my spare kidney. And I would seriously doubt the common sense of anyone replacing every single piece of meat in the median American diet with a similar, accurately labeled, vat-grown piece. It also would be impossible to have vat meat that’s organic, or not genetically modified, or fed a “natural” diet, or free of antibiotics, or healthy, or not part of the industry that commercializes animal consumption in the name of flavor.

I’m afraid I can’t take peta seriously on this one.

Wednesday ~ April 30, 2008 by b

Posted in veg | Comments Off on vat meat | blog@goodtofu.org

campaign reform

None of the three major candidates make me jump for joy at their stance on animal rights. They’ve all taken what I consider mediocre positions. Nevertheless, I tend to think Barack Obama would be the best choice on animal issues. Hillary might come close, but she proposes legislation only when it’s completely non-controversial, and actively opposes my own positions on the big, practical votes and issues. I simply do not believe that John McCain would ever support animal welfare in any significant form (much less animal rights) when confronted by any of the lobbies opposing it.

So what would a person like me put in his campaign platforms to benefit other species, thus ensuring a landslide victory? Here’s my short list:

Thursday ~ April 24, 2008 by b

Posted in poli,veg | Comments Off on campaign reform | blog@goodtofu.org

not that kind of “diet”

There’s are two problems I’ve had with calling veganism a “diet”:

Yes, there was a big long rant planned after something I read somewhere on the interwebs. But seriously, that’s just more credit than writers deserve for incredibly lax fact-checking.

Monday ~ April 7, 2008 by b

Posted in veg | 6,273 Comments | blog@goodtofu.org

cruelty-free animal agriculture

So, what’s wrong with agriculture that relies upon animals, but does so respectfully and without cruelty? That’s the question that’s been posited to me enough I should post something.

I really think, after spending years discussing related issues (mostly with non-veggies), having seen factory and free-range farms, having grown up seeing firsthand what animal agriculture looks like from many angles, that the problem is not “animals aren’t yet treated well enough on farms”.

The problem is that animals are owned when they reside on those farms. Ownership is, by definition, a rather extreme relationship in which one party effectively controls all rights of the other. That’s the point; to secure the rights of the owner over property to the greatest extent possible. Under a system of animal ownership, it is considered perfectly acceptable to cause pain, up to and including death, to another animal. The laws about animal welfare are lax for a reason, and their laxity is ingrained into western culture. This is why we do not allow “ownership” relationships between human beings – they’re highly unethical in western society – because of the power differential and loss of rights they necessarily entail. Whether we admit it or not, a basic underlying tenet of western freedom and rights theory is that a nervous system possesses the body it resides within.

If it is considered fully acceptable to own animals, especially if it is acceptable to control what they supply with their own flesh as products, then those beings do not have a right to their own skin. Historically, when that has occurred, very bad things happen to the beings which are owned, regardless of individual stories of nice owners who tend their flocks respectfully. I see no reason to believe western civilization reacts in a better way when it comes to non-human beings.

Wednesday ~ February 20, 2008 by b

Posted in veg | Comments Off on cruelty-free animal agriculture | blog@goodtofu.org

veg peeps

Overheard this weekend at the festival:

“I don’t see how anyone can call themselves an environmentalist and not be a vegetarian.”

“ewwwwww, gross, I smell beef!”

I have to admit, both times, I smiled and nodded in agreement.

Monday ~ July 9, 2007 by blog

Posted in veg | Comments Off on veg peeps | blog@goodtofu.org

baked pasta

Baked Pasta

serves: more than one hungry geek one time. there will be leftovers.

recipe below:
continued…

Thursday ~ July 5, 2007 by b

Posted in dining,veg | Comments Off on baked pasta | blog@goodtofu.org

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